We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Bobo Funeral Chapel & Cremation Service
Tony Lavelle Tarver
Tony Lavelle Tarver, 82, passed away peacefully at Summit Hills Retirement Community in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Saturday May 21, 2022. Born in Randolph County, Alabama on June 4, 1939, to Harvey Jordan and Mary Rice Tarver, Tony was raised in the Shawmut mill village in what later became the city of Valley, Alabama. Tony had a perfect attendance record throughout school and exceled in academics, graduating from Valley High School in 1957. He served in the U.S. Army for two years, and upon returning home, he fell in love and married his fellow Valley High classmate, Gloria Hardy on August 23, 1959. Tony resumed his academic career and became the first member of his family to earn a college degree, graduating from Auburn University in 1963 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Tony worked his way through college with West Point Manufacturing Company (later known as WestPoint Stevens). While at Auburn, he also spent time working as a cooperative education student at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama.
Auburn and WestPoint were important in Tony’s life. Upon graduating from Auburn, Tony embarked on a successful 43-year career as a textile manufacturing professional spent entirely with WestPoint Stevens. Known for his good humor and technical expertise, he became a well-respected executive with responsibilities over multiple operations in Alabama and Georgia while continuing to live in Valley. In 1997, Tony assumed these same responsibilities for WestPoint Stevens’ operations in North Carolina and Virginia. And after spending their entire lives in “the Valley”, Tony and Gloria relocated to the Pinehurst, NC area where they made many new and very dear friends.
While Tony was the first family to graduate from college, he wasn’t the last. Gloria soon followed and earned her Auburn degree in 1965, and together they raised three sons who all went on to graduate from The Loveliest Village on the Plains. Tony loved Auburn athletics, and he passed this passion onto each of his sons.
While textile manufacturing and Auburn were important to Tony, he had other interests, too. 1n 1971, Tony purchased a small cabin on Lake Harding in Alabama that needed significant repair. Tony, being mechanically inclined, enjoyed working with his hands and could build or repair most anything. “The camp” became a new pursuit for him and backwater living became part of the Tarver family life with weekends and summers spent fishing, skiing and skipping rocks. Tony and Gloria eventually moved full-time to the lake where they routinely made evening cruises and entertained grandkids.
Textiles, Auburn sports and lake living were some of Tony’s passions but his faith, family and love of community and country were his foundations.
Tony never met a stranger and made new friends wherever he went. He was active in church and in the community where he served on boards for local organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Junior Achievement.
After his retirement in North Carolina, Tony became even more involved in his church and the community. In addition to Bible studies and Sunday School classes, he became a volunteer chaplain and spent many hours with those in need at local hospitals. He also volunteered his time at local food shelters in the Pinehurst vicinity. Most importantly, it was Tony’s strong faith in Jesus Christ and love for his family that carried him through a very difficult battle with cancer in 2017. His family is thankful that he fought so hard so we could have had him in our lives another five years.
Tony is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Gloria Lanelle Hardy Tarver, his three sons Greg Tarver (Lea), Mark Tarver and Scott Tarver (Gina), his beloved sister Shirley Hooks (Michael), granddaughters, Kelsey Tarver, Erin George, Devan Nabors and Caitlin Tarver, grandsons Jordan Tarver and Travis Tarver, great-grandson Zander Nabors, and Tony’s nephew Michael Keith Hooks.
Visitation will be 1:00pm-2:00pm Thursday, May 26, 2022 at Bobo Funeral Chapel. Funeral service will follow at 2:00pm. Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Park.